With NFL Draft season in full swing, the league is taking an approach to pre-draft visits that they hope will limit the spread of the novel coronavirus. According to agent Erik Burkhardt, the league will cancel all visits from draft prospects to team facilities.
Burkhardt shared the news on Twitter, but the NFL has yet to release an official statement.
Mike Garafolo of NFL Network later reported that the decision to cancel all pre-draft visits is not coming from the top of the National Football League, but that individual teams are making the calls on their own to protect players, coaches, and staff from being infected by COVID-19.
The coronavirus outbreak has led to the cancellation or postponing of many large events including Coachella, SXSW, the Winter X Games, Stagecoach, Ultra Music Festival in Miami, and more. The NBA, NHL, and MLS have temporarily suspended their seasons, while the NCAA men’s and women’s basketball tournaments will be held without fans.
Teams are canceling visits, yes. The league has not. Decisions are being made by individual clubs. Only some have begun canceling. https://t.co/3ViDO5ZvIt
— Mike Garafolo (@MikeGarafolo) March 12, 2020
The 2020 NFL Draft will take place in Las Vegas, Nevada from April 23 to April 25. Las Vegas edged out bids from cities like Denver, Kansas City, Las Vegas, Nashville, and Cleveland/Canton.
In recent years, the NFL has strayed from tradition and moved the draft out of New York City, where it had been held for years.
In 2015, the NFL Draft moved to Chicago, Illinois which marked the first time since 1965 that the draft was held outside of New York City. It was held at Auditorium Theatre in Grant Part which marked the first draft to feature an outdoor component. The draft returned to Chicago in 2016 after the great reception a year prior. In 2017, the draft shifted to Philadelphia where it was held on the iconic Rocky Steps outside of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. It was the most attended draft in NFL history with more than 250,000 fans.
Then, in 2018, the draft was held at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas and it marked more NFL first’s. It was the first time in history that the draft was held in the state of Texas, while also being the first draft to take place in an NFL stadium. The 2019 NFL Draft was held in Nashville, Tennessee.